Why Fanfiction Isn’t Always the Monstrosity You Think It Is

There’s a lot that can go wrong in the world of fanfiction. Unusual pairings that you never would’ve imagined together, disrespect for the original author’s work, showing actors fanfiction about their characters, and more. On the flip side of this, fanfiction is a free space to explore with writing, read and write about characters you love, and interact with an online community of people who share similar interests.


Fandoms can be inviting, but at the same time, many people are terrified to go near it. A typical fandom is filled with fanart, fanfiction, theories and arguments. This could be about a book, tv show, movie, band, celebrity, or any other popular person or group you can think of.


Wattpad, Fanfiction.net, and Archive Of Our Own (AO3) are all free fanfiction sites for readers and writers. It’s great that people can use their freedom of expression and creativity through these outlets, but it can also bring unwanted absurdity. It’s not fair to say that all fanfiction is ridiculous and terrible, but it’s also not fair to say all of it is good and pure. Another problem is that people tend to think fanfiction is all about sex.


Fanfiction isn’t just about sex. There are certainly stories that are pure fluff (happiness with little to no conflict), or not about romantic pairings, or...anything else. The thing is, fanfiction can be about sex if people want it to be, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This can be a way for readers and writers to explore their sexuality that they can’t do anywhere else. And maybe some people just want a place to dump their George Washington/Alexander Hamilton 3 AM masterpiece. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that either.


When you write about characters you love, it allows you to give your own perspective on the characters. If the original author isn’t writing them, there’s no way to say for sure if a character is “in character” or not. All different fanfiction writers are going to have their own view on the characters, which gives readers several interpretations of who the characters are or could become. Having this broader view of the show, book or movie that you love adds to your experience in the fandom. Some people take it a step too far, though.


Obviously fanfiction can be written about real people, not just fictional characters. This is where things get messy. Some creators probably don’t want characters taken out of their stories and written about, especially if the fanfiction writer makes money off of writing about the characters. Those original writers are real people behind the work. And if there are actors portraying the characters, so are they. Some fans go to the extent of showing actors explicit fanfiction or even writing about them instead of the characters. A character isn’t necessary for a fanfiction to be written, though. People write about singers, Youtubers, historical figures…


To summarize, fanfiction is not an all good or all bad thing. It’s an easy way to connect with people and practice writing. People are willing to write entire books for free! That takes commitment. Readers already know and love the characters, so writers are able to focus on plot, or go deeper into their perception of the characters. It’s not bad or shameful to read or write fanfiction. But it’s also not good to harass the original creators or actors. It’s important to learn how to weed through the bad stories to find a good one that you can come to love. If you’re looking to explore the world of fanfiction, good luck!


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